You just got the wonderful news: You’re expecting your first child! And as you revel in your good fortune, the moment is short-lived.
The worry sets in. Your mind is crowded with thoughts of impending doom and a panicky feeling that you’re not qualified for this yet.
How are you equipped to take care of another human being, and a tiny one at that? Do first-time parents get a manual? After all, a new survey shows that first-time moms spend 1400 hours worrying about their baby’s health.
Sorry, you’re not getting an A-Z owner’s manual; those just come in the box with WaterBabies. Real live babies, however, come equipped with sweet smiles, cuddles for days, and traits uniquely their own.
That said, here’s a helpful list of parenting tips that can get you started on your new journey with a bit more confidence and a lot less stress.
1. Babies Aren’t as Fragile as You Think
Babies look fragile, and in truth, their tiny bodies can get seriously hurt if mishandled. However, their bones are very pliable and while they are rather helpless, babies do have some life-saving instincts.
The most important safety tip to know is how to support baby’s head. A newborn’s head is a lot heavier than the rest of their body, and their little neck muscles can’t hold that weight yet. So you have to provide full support for the head with your arm and your wrist when holding your bundle for the first few months.
2. First-Time Parents Are Always Sleep Deprived
While having a baby is largely unpredictable, one thing’s for sure: You will lose sleep. Prepare to be sleep-deprived for at least several months once your little one arrives. In fact, according to a recent report, new parents face up to six years of sleep deprivation.
Remember these few tips to help you and baby sleep safe and sound as much as possible:
- Sleep when baby sleeps — including naptime
- Practice safe sleep measures like always putting baby to sleep on their back
- It’s fine to sleep train when your baby is a few months old
Most of all, remember that this period, too, shall pass. You’ll get your six-eight hours a night back when your child gets used to a full night’s sleep routine. However, be prepared for more sleepless nights once the little one is all grown up with a driver’s license of their own.
3. Baby Swings Are Not Safe for Sleeping
Baby swings are a big-ticket item on baby registries. Some parents swear by them, and the bells and whistles of today’s swings are indeed impressive.
That said, don’t use your baby swing as a bassinet. Baby swings are not safe sleeping spaces for infants because they are on an incline.
In some circumstances, doctors may recommend you let your baby sleep on an incline, such as if they’re suffering from reflux. However, any time your baby is in their swing, they should be supervised.
The same rule of thumb applies to baby loungers. No matter how enticing it might be to let your baby snooze in them, those products aren’t made for unsupervised sleeping. Babies who sleep on anything other than a flat, firm surface are at a greater risk for SIDS.
4. Breast Is Best, But Formula’s Great Too
If you’re like most first-time parents, you’re preoccupied with feeding your baby. Maybe you’re ambitious and excited about breastfeeding, or you feel that formula feeding is best for your family.
There’s a popular saying that “breast is best.” This cliche was spread by parents who are so enthusiastic about breastfeeding that they can’t see the benefits of formula.
Here’s the scoop: Breastmilk is indeed beneficial for infants, especially those six months and under. That said, formula is just as safe and nutritious for your little one. Though synthetic, many types of formula closely replicate breastmilk and its properties.
Furthermore, while breastfeeding is a natural process, many moms cannot feed their babies for medical reasons. Also, sometimes there’s just not enough milk supply for the baby to be fed exclusively with breastmilk.
Therefore, while it’s a great idea to start with breastfeeding, you can switch to formula or supplement as needed without guilt. As long as baby is fed and healthy, you’re doing an excellent job.
5. You Can’t Spoil a Baby
If you get parenting advice from your grandparents, you might hear about how you shouldn’t hold your baby too much or you might spoil them. Maybe they urge you to let the baby cry to exercise their lungs, or to understand that mom and dad won’t always be at their beck and call.
Rest assured, those notions are outdated and unproven. You can’t spoil a baby, so feel free to hold and cuddle yours as much as you like.
Infants cry in order to communicate with their parents about their needs. This includes the need to feel safe and secure in their parents’ loving arms.
As long as you are rested, mentally refreshed, and otherwise ready for cuddle time, you can hold and rock your baby as long as possible. In fact, skin-to-skin contact with a parent promotes a newborn’s physical and emotional health. Feel free to dress baby down and put them against your bare chest for some bonding.
6. Public Bathrooms Have Changing Tabless
New parents worry about the tiniest details when they take their baby on their first outing. You’re not alone in wondering if you packed enough outfits and diapers. In fact, you might be wondering where you should change your baby when out in public.
Should you go back to your car and change them there? Is it hygienic to change a baby on the floor, perhaps?
Guess what? You can usually change your baby in a public bathroom.
Most washrooms have built-in changing tables. To learn more about how to change your baby when you’re out, you can use a resource like https://www.prestigewashrooms.co.uk/washroom-safety/child-safety/horizontal-baby-changing-tables.html.
Are You Ready?
Now that you have some starter tips, do you feel more at ease about becoming first-time parents?
While you’re busy holding, changing, and feeding your new baby, a whole year will fly by before you know it.
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